After Verizon and AT&T dropped plans to sell phones from Chinese handset maker Huawei, two US senators proposed bills Wednesday to block the United Sates from using Huawei and ZTE equipment, stymieing expansion of Chinese companies into the US market.
If forbidding government departments from purchasing Chinese technology is partly understandable for national security reasons, preventing American citizens from using Chinese products and services is surely going too far.
Huawei, a private company, has won an international reputation for its high quality products and competitive prices, ranking among the top three smartphone makers with Samsung and Apple. But, as Apple enters millions of households in China, Huawei finds it hard to move forward in the US market.
Where is US President Donald Trump's belief in fair trade when he keeps shutting out Chinese companies and products from the US market?
This is not the first time for the United States to make such a move. Moreover, it has been accompanied by a string of blocks on Chinese acquisition due to "national security concerns," including Ant Financial's proposed purchase of US money transfer company MoneyGram International.
Setting up trade barriers at the excuse of national security might be the worst option to build a prosperous and free market. Using "visible hands" to block the entry of foreign products into its home market, the United States has sacrificed the interests of consumers for the sake of a minority group, going against the spirit of free and competitive market economy.
China is opening wider to countries, including the United States, with products form Apple, Cisco, Microsoft and countless other US companies selling well in China for many years. On the contrary, the United States keeps demonizing Chinese companies and setting obstacles for their entry into its market.
It is clear that US-style fair trade sacrifices fairness to other countries. How can such "fair trade," putting its own interests above international rules, stand to survive?
Behind the block is US fear of China's rapid development. The US secretary of commerce expressed concern about the high-tech challenge from China to the United States at the Davos forum. But blockading competitors will do no good to both sides. There is no isolated island in the process of globalization. China's growth is the result of 40 years of reform and opening up.
The United States should bear in mind that politicizing economic issues will make things complicated and ultimately harm the interests of both countries. Only when the Cold War mentality is abandoned, can the fruits of China-US common interests grow and prosper.